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Articles > About God: > Ob Portu

Ob Portu

"Behold, now is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation."1

"Opportunity," James Wallace said, "comes to pass—not to pause."

I have read that in the days before modern harbors, a ship had to wait for the flood tide to make it into port. The term for this in Latin was called ob portu. That is, a ship wanting to enter port had to wait for the moment when the tide was exactly right to carry it to harbor. The captain and the crew waited for the precise moment when the tide was right because they knew if they missed it, they would have to wait for another tide to come in. Shakespeare used this idea to write one of his famous passages:

    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat;
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our venture.

The English word "opportunity" is derived from the term, ob portu. God gives every one of us many ob portus or flood tides. That is, he gives us many opportunities to serve him, to dedicate our lives more fully to him, to grow and become more like him, and to make something beautiful out of our life for time and eternity. These opportunities rarely come gift wrapped, tied with a bow and ribbon. They come in much more subtle ways.

And best of all he gives each of us the opportunity to accept him as our personal Lord and Savior, to have our sins forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life. As God's Word says, "Behold, now is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation."  For help be sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian—Without having to be religious" at:

Remember, "Opportunity comes to pass—not to pause." So whatever it is God is calling you to be or do, don't miss your ob portu.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to recognize the opportunities that come every day for me to be what You want me to be and to do what You want me to do. And, no matter how You call, when You have something special for me to do, help me to hear and obey that call no matter how quiet or subtle it may be. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. 2 Corinthians 6:2.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.

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